History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal Home Home BannerBanner

Case Look-up Courts Directories Educational Resources E-Services Juror Information Online Media Resource Center Opinions Opportunities Self-Help Frequently Asked Questions Home Attorneys Espanol menu
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2010-23 (July 22, 2010)
Disclosure/Disqualification; Family; Stock Interest
Canons 2 & 3; C.G.S. § 51-39
New Code of Judicial Conduct (effective 1-1-11): Canons 1 & 2; Rules 1.2 & 2.11

Issue: Does a Judicial Official have a duty to disclose and/or recuse himself or herself when the Judicial Official’s spouse is the beneficial owner of a small amount of stock in a corporation that is the majority partner in a second business that appears as a party or intervener before the Judicial Official?

Response: A Judicial Official’s spouse is the beneficial owner of a small amount of stock (valued at less that $1,000 with annual dividends of less than $100) in a multi-billion dollar corporation that does business in Connecticut. The corporation is the majority partner in a second business. The Judicial Official has inquired about his or her duty to recuse himself or herself or to disclose the fact of the spouse’s beneficial ownership of the stock of the corporation to the parties in a case if the partnership (but not the corporation) appears before the Judicial Official either as a party or intervener. Based upon the facts presented, the participating Committee members unanimously determined that the JO's spouse has a financial interest in a party to the proceeding within the meaning of Canon 3(c)(1) of the existing Code of Judicial Conduct and, therefore, the Judicial Official should recuse himself or herself subject to a remittal of disqualification by the parties in accordance with Canon 3(d). The participating Committee members noted that under the Code of Judicial Conduct effective January 1, 2011, Rule 2.11 provides that disqualification is required in any proceeding in which a judge’s impartiality might reasonably by questioned, which includes the judicial official or his or her spouse having more than a de minimis interest that could be affected by the proceeding or having an economic interest in the subject matter of the controversy or in a party to the proceeding. For purposes of Rule 2.11, “de minimis” means “an insignificant interest that could not raise a reasonable question regarding the judge’s impartiality” while “economic interest” means “ownership of more than a de minimis legal or equitable interest….” Based upon the foregoing, the participating members of the Committee unanimously determined that under the Code that will be in effect on January 1, 2011, the spouse’s beneficial interest of less than $1,000 in stock in a multi-billion dollar corporation appears to fall within the definition of “de minimis”.

Committee on Judicial Ethics

 


 

Attorneys | Case Look-up | Courts | Directories | Educational Resources | E-Services | Español | FAQ's | Juror Information | Media | Opinions | Opportunities | Self-Help | Home

Common Legal Words | Contact Us | Site Map | Website Policies and Disclaimers

Copyright © 2014, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch